Magnum Opus, PI: oldie back on the box

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Every now and then we moan about how TV channels take us for granted by rebroad-casting old shows.

The argument is that this practice is done at the expense of newer material. But if we are to be very frank, not all of the newest material is necessarily that good.

Just the mere fact that we have seen remakes of shows like Knight Rider and The A-Team as either series or films means the newer generation of producers/ writers have run out of ideas.

But in most cases when these remakes happen, with the aid of the latest technology, from crisp images to cool visual effects, we still find ourselves yearning for the older shows. Things were much simpler then and there- fore realistic. There is also the fact that in general, you can’t beat the original idea.

It is for this reason that we celebrate the return of Magnum, PI, the show that gave Tom Selleck (pictured) his big break back in the ’80s. We all loved the red Ferrari and thought the Hawaiian shirts and almost non-existent shorts were the in thing.

For some reason he insisted on growing that moustache, which became his trademark.

On the show Selleck is a private investigator who lives the life of a playboy in a beach house. He solves cases in an unconventional manner and tries to avoid a fight at all costs. With his lush lifestyle it is obvious he’s a hit with the ladies and his only problem is settling down with just one of them.

The show first aired in 1980 and three-and-a-half decades later, not only will it be a hit, but Selleck is still in the acting game and doing well for himself.

He can be seen on the hit cop drama series, Blue Bloods in which he plays patriarch to a family of cops.

Admittedly, the moustache suits him now as a grandfather and his whole demeanour is authoritative and not flamboyant as before.

During his time as Magnum, several people were also in the acting game and have now seemingly fallen off the map.

Richard-Dean Anderson, for instance, was a big deal in the ’80s. He was the guy who played the lead in MacGyver, the show that changed the action genre on TV. But when the show ended in 1992, so did Anderson’s career. Of course, he starred in this or that, but nothing worth noting and he will always be remembered as Angus MacGyver.

Don Johnson is another example of a career pinned on one major gig. His claim to fame was the cool cop drama Miami Vice in which he played Sonny Crockett, an undercover detective that worked on dangerous cases in the notorious Miami area.

Johnson was the poster boy of the ’80s and even won a Golden Globe for playing Sonny. However, when the show ended it would be long before we heard from him again.

He starred in Nash Bridges, another detective drama, as a cop, and the show was very successful.

Today, Johnson is vying for the movies, with his last appearance being in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.

Looking at how well he has done compared to his peers, Selleck needs to be seen again in the show that made his career.


• Magnum, PI airs on Fox Crime (DStv channel 125 ) at 4.55pm every Thursday.

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